we’re going to look at the world of Rome
through the eyes of a young girl.
Here she is, drawing a picture of herself
in the atrium of her father’s enormous house.
Her name is Domitia, and she is just 5 years old.
She has an older brother who is fourteen,
Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus
Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus,
named after her dad.
Girls don’t get these long names that boys have.
What is worse is that Dad insists
on calling all his daughters Domitia.
His call to Domitia drawing on the column,
她有个姐姐 Domitia II 七岁
She has an older sister, Domitia II, who is 7 years old.
还有Domitia I 十岁
And then there’s Domitia I, who is ten.
There would have been a Domitia IV,
but mom died trying to give birth to her three years ago.
The Romans were too.
They could work out ancestry through the male line
with the nice, tripartite names
例如 Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus
such as Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus.
But they got in a real mess
over which Domitia was married to whom
and was either the great aunt
or the great stepmother and so on to whom
when they came to write it down.
Domitia III is not just drawing on the pillar,
she’s also watching the action.
You see, it’s early,
in the time of day when all her dad’s clients and friends
come to see him at home to pay their respects.
17岁的Lucius Popidius Secundus
Lucius Popidius Secundus, a 17 year old,
he wants to marry Domitia II
within the next five to seven years,
has come as well.
He seems to be wooing not his future wife,
but her dad.
可怜的Lucius 他并不知道 Domitia的父亲
Poor Lucius, he does not know that Domitia’s dad
觉得尽管他和他家族很有钱 但始终是Subura城来的下等人 毕竟
thinks he and his family are wealthy but still scumbags from the Subura. Afterall,
it is the part of Rome full of barbers and prostitutes. Suddenly,
all the men are leaving with Dad.
It’s the second hour and time for him to be in court
with a sturdy audience
of clients to applaud his rhetoric and hiss at his opponent.
The house is now quieter.
The men won’t return for seven hours,
not until dinner time.
But what happens in the house for those seven hours?
What do Domitia, Domitia, and Domitia do all day?
Not an easy question!
Everything written down by the Romans
that we have today was written by men.
This makes constructing the lives of women difficult. However,
we can’t have a history of just Roman men,
so here it goes.
We can begin in the atrium.
There is a massive loom, on which Dad’s latest wife is working on a new toga.
Domitia,Domitia, and Domitia
are tasked with spinning the wool
that will be used to weave this mighty garment,
30 or more feet long and elliptical in shape.
Romans loved the idea that their wives work wool.
We know that because it’s written on the gravestones
of so many Roman women.
Unlike women in Greece,
Roman women go out the house and move about the city.
They go to the baths
in the morning to avoid the men
or to separate baths that are for women only.
Some do go in for the latest fad of the AD 70s:
nude bathing with men present.
Where they have no place is where the men are:
in the Forum, in the Law Court,
or in the Senate House.
Their place in public is in the porticos
那里有花园 有雕像 还有进入的通道
with gardens, with sculpture, and with pathways for walking in.
When Domitia, Domitia, and Domitia want
to leave the house to go somewhere,
like the Portico of Livia,
they must get ready.
Domitia II和Domitia III已经准备好了
Domitia II and Domitia III are ready,
but Domitia I, who is betrothed to be married
in two years to darling Philatus,
She’s not slow, she just has more to do.
Being betrothed means she wears the insignia of betrothal:
engagement rings and all the gifts Pilatus has given her – jewels,
earrings, necklaces, and the pendants.
She may even wear her myrtle crown.
All this bling shouts,
“I’m getting married to that 19 year old
who gave me all this stuff I’m wearing!”
While as they wait,
Domitia II和Domitia III在玩儿她们的娃娃
Domitia II and Domitia III play with their dolls
that mirror the image of their sister
decked out to be married.
One day, these dolls will be dedicated
家庭守护神 好了 我们准备好了
to the household gods on the day of their wedding. Okay, we’re ready.
The girls step into litters carried by some burly slaves.
They also have a chaperone with them
and will be meeting an aunt at the Porticus of Livia.
Carried high on the shoulders of these slaves,
the girls look out through the curtains
to see the crowded streets below them.
They traverse the city, pass the Coliseum,
but then turn off to climb up the hill
to the Porticus of Livia.
It was built by Livia,
the wife of the first emperor Augustus,
on the site of the house of Vedius Pollio.
He wasn’t such a great guy.
He once tried to feed a
slave to the eels in his fish pond
for simply dropping a dish. Luckily,
the emperor was at the dinner
and tamed his temper.
The litters are placed on the ground
and the girls get out and arm
in arm, two by two,
they ascend the steps into the enclosed garden with many columns.
Domitia III跑出去 正在往一个柱子上画画
Domitia III shot off and is drawing on a column.
Domitia II也走了过去 但是她在看
Domitia II joins her but seeks to read
the graffiti higher up on the column.
She spots a drawing of gladiators
and tries to imagine seeing them fighting,
something she will never be permitted to do,
except from the very rear of the Coliseum.
From there, she will have a good view
of the 50,000 spectators
but will see little by way of blood and gore.
If she really wanted a decent view,
she could become a vestal virgin and would sit right down the front.
But a career tending the sacred flame of Vesta
is not to everybody’s taste.
Domitia I has met another ten year old
also decked out in the insignia of betrothal.
When they get there after the eighth hour,
something is up.
A smashed dish lies on the floor.
All the slaves are being gathered together in the atrium
and await the arrival of their master.
Dad is going to go mad.
He will not hit his children, but like many other Romans,
he believes that slaves have to be punished.
The whip lies ready for his arrival.
No one knows who smashed the dish,
but Dad will call the undertaker to torture it
out of them, if he must.
The doorkeeper opens the front door to the house.
A hush comes over the anxious slaves.
In walks not their master but, instead, a pregnant teenager.
It is the master’s eldest daughter, age 15,
who is already a veteran of marriage and child birth.
Guess what her name is.
There is a five to ten percent chance
she won’t survive giving birth to her child, but,
for now, she has come to dinner with her family.
As a teenage mother,
she has proved that she is a successful wife
by bringing children and descendants for her husband,
who will carry on his name in the future.
The family head off to the dining room
and are served dinner.
It would seem Dad has had an invite to dinner elsewhere.
With dinner concluded, the girls crossed the atrium
to bid farewell to their older sister
who is carried home in a litter,
escorted by some of Dad’s bodyguards.
Returning to the house, the girls cross the atrium.
The slaves, young and old, male and female,
await the return of their owner.
When he returns, he may exact vengeance,
ensuring his power over the slaves
is maintained through violence and terror,
to which any slave could be subjected. But,
for the girls, they head upstairs for the night,
ready for bed.